Charles W. Henry was a cruel and heartless miser. In 1895 he was 70-years-old, living in Brooklyn with his wife and 39-year-old son William. Though Henry was a wealthy man, he kept his family in a state of poverty, spending little on food and the most basic amenities. Their house was large, but the inside was filthy with dust and clutter. Mrs. Henry’s room had a bare floor and a single cot, while Charles slept on four chairs in a row, alternating back and front held together by tape. Mrs. Henry was frail and emaciated, wearing the same clothes she had for twenty years. Charles kept a daily ledger of household expenses, each day on a separate card, the cards were tied together in bundles and the stacked bundles went back many years. An example of an extravagant day was Christmas 1894 when 54 cents was spent on dinner for three. Is it any wonder someone wanted to kill him?
I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness.
Welcome, Weirdos – I’m Darren Marlar and this is Weird Darkness. Here you’ll find stories of the paranormal, supernatural, legends, lore, the strange and bizarre, crime, conspiracy, mysterious, macabre, unsolved and unexplained.
Coming up in this episode…
The Conjuring, The Amityville Horror, Annabelle, and many other books and films have been based on Ed and Lorraine Warren and the stories they tell. But it appears they may not be as advertised. If fact, according to some, they’ve been shown to be fraudulent on more than one occasion. (When The Warrens Were Exposed as Frauds)
Whether or not you believe in curses, luck, or fate it may be hard to explain away some of the eerie items people have had in their keeping, only to get rid of them as quickly as possible for fear of suffering more calamities. (Unlucky Possessions)
A woman describes her home as a child of evil – even on sunny days, the gloom would overtake her. (My Haunted Childhood Home)
When it comes to B-movie horror, you can’t do much better than the 1958 classic “The Blob”. But don’t believe it’s just science fiction – reports have been coming in for years of people in real life actually coming across some type of amorphous creatures very similar to what was originally seen on the big screen. (The Blobs)
In an old cemetery in North Carolina, a young girl is buried – but not in a coffin as you might expect. She was buried while submerged in a keg of rum. (The Rum Keg Girl)
But first… Ebeneezer Scrooge had nothing on a man named Charles Henry. Charles was miserly, and cruel. No doubt he had a long list of people who could’ve been accused of wanting him dead. We begin there. (Miser Henry’s Murder)
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STORY: MISER HENRY’S MURDER=====
Henry came from a prominent Long Island family and a street in Brooklyn was named after his father, Dr. Thomas Henry. At an early age, Charles married a beautiful young woman of high social standing but with little money. Charles inherited a large sum of money from his father, allegedly swindling his only brother out of his share. Though his business dealings thrived Charles lived like a pauper and kept his wife a virtual prisoner in the house.
The Henrys had three sons, Charles, William and Walter. Charles Jr. married young and moved out but was soon diagnosed with acute melancholia. Believed to be a vagrant, he was committed to the New York City Asylum for the Insane on Ward’s Island. William, after several failed business venture, became an alcoholic. Still living with his parents, he spent his money on drink when he had it and suffered delirium tremens when he didn’t. 30-year-old Walter was the antithesis of William, successful and sober, he left his father’s house when he married. Although Charles did not approve of Walter’s bride, Walter remained his favorite son.
Charles Henry had a long history of abusing his wife both verbally and physically. She left him once in the 1870s and hired a lawyer for a legal separation but thinking he was acting in her interests the layer negotiated a reconciliation and she returned to her husband. Henry’s attitude did not improve and his abuse of if wife and William increased over time.
Around the first of June 1895, Charles drove his wife from the house. She showed her neighbor marks on her throat where Charles had grabbed her and said she was afraid he would kill her but she returned to him a few days later anyway. On Saturday, June 8, they fought again and William tried to intervene to protect his mother. Enraged, Charles drove both William and his wife into the street and bolted the door. Next day Charles tried unsuccessfully to get a warrant for William’s arrest for threatening him.
Walter learned what had happened and arranged to send his mother to a sanitarium. On Wednesday he went to see his father to ask if he would help in her support. Charles refused and handed Walter a handwritten letter asking for Walter’s help against his wife and William who he said were conspiring to have him declared insane. He encouraged Walter to disown his brother William.
Thursday, Walter went back and found the shutters closed and the doors bolted, there was no answer when he rang the bell. Then he went to the police station to see if his father could be held responsible for his mother’s board at the sanitarium. When he told the police that he could not get into his father’s house, an officer accompanied him back there to make an investigation. With the policeman’s approval, Walter entered the house through a second story window.
They could not find Charles inside and the officer suggested that they look in the basement. Walter wanted to look in the bedroom first. There they found the closet door opened and documents scattered on the floor around it.
“William’s been here.” Said Walter.
They went up another flight of stairs to Williams’s room, the only clean room in the house.
“Yes, William’s been here,” Said Walter, “He has taken away his clothes.”
The officer again wanted to go to the basement. Walter hesitated so the officer went down first and found Charles Henry lying dead at the foot of the stairs.
“Here he is,” the officer shouted to Walter who lingered halfway up the stairs.
“Yes,” said Walter “this is some of William’s work.”
Walter said his father was subject to fainting spells and had probably fallen downstairs and fatally injured himself. The officer accepted this explanation but when the coroner arrived, he found at least 20 axe wounds in the side of the dead man’s head. He ordered the arrest of William Henry.
The police thoroughly searched the house for clues to the murder and Walter joined them searching for the old man’s will which Walter said left the bulk of the estate to him. Inside the closet, in Charles Henry’s room, they found a leather trunk which they believed contained his important documents. They forced it open and inside were stocks, bonds, crisp new banknotes and gold and silver coins, with a total value of $77,000. Walter did not find the will.
Later that day William walked into the DeKalb Avenue police station and gave himself up. Since the night his father threw him out of the house he had been sleeping outside in Prospect Park. He learned that he was wanted for the murder of his father when he read it in the newspaper. To avoid further trouble he immediately turned himself in, but he absolutely denied killing his father.
The missing will was starting to pose a problem for Walter as a number of people came forward claiming an interest in the dead man’s fortune. The New York City Asylum for the Insane said that if Charles Jr. was one of the heirs he should be transferred to a private facility and pay for his own care. The wife and daughter of the insane man were expecting a share. Mrs. Shaw, a niece of the widow expressed her intention to fight when Walter attempts to administer the estate. A. S. Grosser of Richmond, Virginia, who married the daughter of Charles Henry’s only sister, would be making a claim. He also believed that Charles had inherited an even larger amount from a dead relative in Scotland and the assets were hidden in the house or in secret accounts.
Though Walter had done much to implicate his brother William in the murder, he now changed tactics and engaged his own lawyer to defend William and represent both of their interests in the fight for the estate. It was now believed that Walter planned to split the estate with his William and exclude everyone else.
The police claimed that they had additional evidence which they were not ready to reveal and District Attorney Ridgway said that he was confident of a conviction. But the police and the examining physicians could not agree on the time of death and when the Grand Jury convened they did not find enough evidence to indict William Henry for murder. William was released from custody and no one was ever convicted of the miser’s murder.
STORY: UNLUCKY POSSESSIONS=====
Belief in mascots, luck-bringers, is universal, and dates back to the dawn of civilization. It is not peculiar to any race or creed, and is as strong today as ever in the past. Numbers of great men, as well as ordinary individuals, treasure mascots and carry them at all times. If now a concrete object such as a gem, a cross or a relic can possess useful properties and bring good fortune to its owner, is it then not equally reasonable that the opposite is the case? If you read newspapers, if you take any interest at all in the subjects of luck or curses, doubt becomes almost impossible.
The most notable of recent instances is that of the bewitched car, the big red six-seater in which the Archduke Francis Joseph [sic] and his wife were assassinated at Sarajevo in 1914, a crime which, as we all know, was the direct cause of the world war. When the war broke out the car was lodged in a Vienna museum as a curiosity, and when peace at last came it passed into the hands of the Jugoslav Governor of Bosnia and Herzegovina. So many small and unaccountable accidents occurred that a rumour gained ground that the car was bewitched, and the Governor, finding his nerves were beginning to suffer, sold it.
Its new owner, a wealthy Bosnian, was driving into Sarajevo when to his amazement the motor, for no apparent reason, began to slow down. He stopped, got out and examined the engine, but found nothing wrong. Then the car refused to car again, and at last the owner was forced to hire a carter and two horses to pull the machine. The horses were being hitched to it when, without warning, the car started again all by itself. The horses ran away, the carter fled, and the car running into a bank, turned over, crushing its unfortunate owner to death.
Another death car is the large Benz originally owned by Prince Henry of Prussia, brother of the ex-Kaiser. When the Prince owned it the car killed a pedestrian and the Prince at once got rid of it. The new owner had hardly taken charge when the car charged another person, a woman, and killed her. The car was sold again, and a third person was killed. Once more it changed hands, and this time it appeared to get suddenly out of control on the Cologne Suspension Bridge and, turning over, killed its driver. One may admit that this chain of disaster may have been pure accidents, yet if so the coincidence is at least strange and unusual.
Speaking of cars, it may be remembered that Count Zborowski, one of the most famous of the early racing motorists, was killed in a motor car accident at Nice. He was wearing at the time a ring of peculiar design, which it is said brought misfortune to every owner. The design made the ring easily recognizable, and five times in fifty years it came to the Paris morgue on the fingers of a corpse. The truth of this remarkable occurrence was vouched for by M. [Gustave] Mace, who was Chief of the Detective Police of Paris for some years at the end of the last century.
The ring mentioned in connection with Count Louis Zborowski may have been one mentioned in a statement by the head of the Paris Morgue – and it is vouched for by the late chief of the Paris police—that five times within his experience dead bodies brought to the morgue were found to be wearing a ring of Oriental make, and bearing these words in Oriental characters: “May whosoever wears this ring die a miserable death.”
Of gems which bring ill fortune the most celebrated is, of course, the Hope “Blue Diamond,” the story of which is too well know to be repeated here. But from Madame de Montespan, favourite of Louis XIV, through the ill-fated Marie Antoinette down to the American millionaire Mr. Edward McLean, every single person who wore or owned this brilliantly beautiful stone has come to utter grief.
A grim story of a fateful necklace appeared some years ago in the Russian newspaper Novoe Vremya. The necklace was French work of the eighteenth century, but nothing is known of its early history until it came into the possession of the head of a French noble family who, with nearly all the members of his house, was guillotined during the French Revolution. The survivors escaped to Brussels, where they sold their jewellery, including the necklace, and from that time onwards enjoyed good fortune. The necklace brought bad luck to every owner and in the next hundred years, changed hands at least ten times. At last it was sold to a Russian prince for £4,000, who gave it to the celebrated dancer Tzukki. At once the dancer’s health failed, and she had to abandon the stage. She became so poor that she had to sell the jewel, and its next owner, a man named Linivitch, did suddenly at Monte Carlo. His heir, who received the necklace, lost all his money at the tables and was forced to sell the ornament. Its purchaser was M. Andieef, a broker who was a very wealthy man. He paid £2,000 for the necklace and gave it to his wife. From that moment the two began to quarrel, until at last, in a fit of fury, the wretched man cut his wife down with a sword and killed her.
It is not always objects of value which possess unpleasant powers. A few years ago a man who had served in Africa during the war gave to a woman friend a necklace of [native] beads. From the very hour that she accepted them everything seemed to go wrong. If she went out cycling she invariably had a nasty fall. All sorts of troubles afflicted the lady, and on one occasion when she lent the necklace to her daughter, the latter slipped and sprained her ankle.
The owner of the necklace was interested in Spiritualism, and since he had at last begun to suspect the necklace, took it with her to a séance, and asked the medium (a woman) to psychometrize it. The latter at once informed her that it had previously belonged to a [native] chief who had been robbed of it and murdered. Also she said that there was another half to the necklace. The lady saw the man who had given her the necklace, and he at once admitted that this was true, that there had been another half to the ornament.
The medium asked the lady to give her the necklace, in which she was much interested, but the owner refused, for she had made up her mind to bury it. But in the end she did hand it over to the medium, and at once all its ill-luck was transferred to the latter, while the former owner had good fortune again.
Opals have a bad reputation, but some people seem able to wear them without any evil results. Here, however, is a case in which an opal was the cause of a series of misfortunes. Just a week before Thanksgiving Day in 1901, a friend presented Mr. Maguire, a railway official of Denver, Colorado, with a beautiful opal. Mr. Maguire had hard of the baneful influence of the stone, but considered himself safe from harm. He showed the opal to one of its warmest friends, who admired it greatly. From the friend’s hands it went into the pocket of another intimate, who offered to have it set for him. On the day before Thanksgiving Day, Mr. Maguire received his opal pin and proceeded to wear it on a business journey to Denver.
Things had moved smoothly in the Maguire family, and with those with whom they came in daily contact; but from now on it was to be otherwise. The most remarkable string of fatalities followed on the heels of the delivery of the opal pin.
On his way out to Denver the owner was robbed of many of his possessions while he slept peacefully in his berth. His suitcase was ransacked and cleaned out of dozens of collars, cuffs, and new ties. The pockets of his clothes were turned inside out and rifled of all of the coin they contained, as well as all the railroad passes generally owned by railway officials, a gold watch, and a ring, which as a keepsake had great intrinsic value. Worst of all, Mr. Maguire had to hurry back from Denver and could not wait for his free transportation, but had to pay his way.
On his return to the city he found that the friend who had admired the opal had had his fingers smashed by the door of a pilot-house, and was disabled for several weeks. The man who had it set fell off a street car, while it was going along at the rate of fourteen miles and hour, and had a big bill for renovated clothes and asset of sore arms and hand to show that he did not escape the wrath of the opal, to say nothing of a financial failure down in Texas which involved great loss of money.
While in Denver, the original owner of the weird stone presented it to a friend who, since its ownership, has met with all sorts of disappointments.
In the old days of pedal cycle racing, a well-known rider named Oliver Peterson was killed at Lansingbury in New York Sate. He ran into a post of an indoor track and fractured his skull. He was wearing a ring, a perfectly plain gold band of which the origin or history is unknown. It passed to his friend W.E. Miles, a member of the same racing team, and a few months later he too met with a sudden and violent death. Its third owner was Miles’ teammate, W.F. Stafford. Within six months an accident on the track caused his death, and he too was wearing the ring. When Stafford was killed the ring passed to Mr. Frank Waller, who had been his manager, and he gave it to his wife.
But William C. Stinson, another track racer, begged that he might have the ring as a memento of Stafford, who had been his greatest friend, and it was given to him. Stinson then held the one-hour record, and was reckoned the finest rider in America. Within a week of receiving the ring he had three bad falls, the last time when travelling at forty miles an hour paced by a motor cycle. After that he had wisdom enough to lay the ring aside, and from then on he had no more accidents. In this case it appears that it was only when wearing the ring that the owner was in danger.
The so-called Mephisto’s ring which belonged to the Royal House of Spain became notorious for the ill-fortune which it brought to every owner. Mephisto’s ring contained a large and beautiful emerald and came to Spain—no one knows how—in the reign of Philip II. From that period dated the decline of the Spanish power. At the time of the Spanish-American War it was presented by the Royal family to a church, but the church was shortly afterwards burned to the ground. The ring was saved and given to a museum, which was struck by lightning, so the ring was returned to the Royal Family “with thanks.” Within a week came news of the disastrous defeat of the Spanish navy at Manila. It was decided to get rid of this deadly gem, and it was placed in a strong box and buried. One wonders what will happen if it is ever found again. It would have been safer to consign it to a furnace.
Another Spanish ring which brought appallingly bad luck to all its owners was originally the property of the beautiful Countess de Castiglione, among whose admirers was the Prince who afterwards became Alfonso XII. When he came to the throne he married a princess of the blood royal. The Countess, bitterly jealous, sent him this ring as a wedding present. It was a beautiful piece of work containing a huge and splendid opal. Alfonso gave it to his bride, Queen Mercedes, who at once became ill, and very soon afterwards died. It was then given by the King to his grandmother, Queen Christina, who also fell sick and died in a few months. The King’s sister, the Infanta Maria, next wore it, and in a few days was on her deathbed. The King himself slipped the ill-omened jewel on his own finger, and soon the ring claimed another victim. His second wife, Queen Christina, had the good sense to realise its fearful potency, and had it hung upon the statue of the Virgin of Almudena, where it remains to this day.
I will end with a story which was told me recently by a friend in Devonshire and which I have every reason to believe is literally true, though naturally it is impossible to give the names of the actors therein. A young couple, both of whom lived in a small and ancient Devonshire town near the South coast, got married. The husband was about twenty-five and had worked with one firm for seven years. He was as steady, pleasant and good-tempered a young fellow as could be found in the place, and the girl too was popular, pretty and level-headed. They went to London for their honeymoon, returned to their new house, and a fortnight later the young husband came home drunk. His bride was horrified.
Next day the poor fellow was utterly penitent. “I can’t think what made me do it,” he kept on saying. “I don’t really like drink except just a glass of beer.” For a month afterwards all went well, then he broke out a second time. He was carried home and again was miserably self-reproachful. A few weeks later he got drunk for a third time and then his wife went off quietly and consulted a “wise woman.” The latter came to the house and almost at once pitched upon a certain chair. It was a big old-fashioned arm-chair which had been given as a wedding present and in which the young man usually sat in the evening.
“This is the trouble,” said the wise woman. “It is all wrong. If you take my advice you will break it up and burn it.”
The wife did not hesitate. She burned the chair, and after that all went well. The husband has never since had the least inclination to drink.
The history of that chair has been traced. It belonged formerly to a butcher who was a drunkard, and who, in a fit of delirium, killed himself whilst sitting in it. One wonders whether other cases of possession may not be traced to a similar cause.
Up next… a woman describes her home as a child was evil – even on sunny days, the gloom would overtake her.
When it comes to B-movie horror, you can’t do much better than the 1958 classic “The Blob”. But don’t believe it’s just science fiction – reports have been coming in for years of people in real life actually coming across some type of amorphous creatures very similar to what was originally seen on the big screen.
In an old cemetery in North Carolina, a young girl is buried – but not in a coffin as you might expect. She was buried while submerged in a keg of rum.
These stories and more when Weird Darkness returns.
STORY: MY HAUNTED CHILDHOOD HOME=====
When I was a kid I grew up in what I truly believe was an evil place. Strange noises, weird feelings, and yes, apparitions. I remember it would be beautiful, sunny days, but when you walked into our home, something changed. It was this creepy quiet. Even though you couldn’t see it, you could definitely feel it. The energy there was dark.
One night I woke up in the middle of the night to my Mom crying to my Dad. I heard her telling him that she saw an image of my Dad just staring at her. She said the apparition had no legs. It was just from the waist up. My Brother saw an evil apparition of me in his bedroom doorway at least two times. He said it was bloody and a was snarling at him.
One night when my Dad was working late, My Mom, Brother and I were sitting in the living room. It was raining quite heavily. We heard a loud knock at my bedroom window. My window was quite high, so no one could just walk up, knock and run. My Mom called the cops, who checked all around and found no evidence of anyone being outside. There were no footprints in the mud.
One day my Uncle was over for a visit. He was in my Brother’s room when my Brother saw a thick fog coming from the side of the house outside. He saw the image of an old man walking with two dogs. My Uncle saw it too. I heard him telling my Mom that it was a ghost.
I had a few dollars in change on my table next to my bed. It came up missing. I thought that maybe my parents had gotten it but they said they didn’t. I thought maybe my Brother got it and hid it from me as a joke. He didn’t. I just sort of forgot about it until one day I went in my room and right there on my table was the money. We never could figure out where the money went those few days. This happened about 30 years ago and I still get creeped out thinking of that place.
I don’t know if the house was haunted or just the land. The house is no longer there. A new home sits there now. I sometimes wonder if weird stuff still goes on there.
STORY: THE BLOBS=====
There can be no doubt that sightings of mysterious creatures can quite often run off the rails, careening from the strange to lodge themselves firmly into a domain of utter bizarreness and absurdity, defying easy categorization and provoking quite a bit of head scratching. Certainly residing in this fringe realm of surreal weirdness are the cases that have sporadically come in of what can only be described as living amorphous blobs, and here are some of the strangest.
One very weird encounter with some sort of animated blob was covered in the book Strange World, by Frank Edwards, and allegedly occurred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in September of 1950, as well as being notable for having been experienced by a total of four veteran police officers. The initial witnesses, officers Joe Keenan and John Collins, were on patrol one evening when as they rounded a corner on a quiet street they were met with the peculiar sight of some sort of globular mass that glittered in their headlights and seemed to be heaving itself across the road towards a nearby field. The bewildered officers stopped their patrol car and went to investigate, finding a large mass of what appeared to be a purple jelly-like substance about 6 feet across and 1 foot thick, which pulsated, quivered, vibrated, and glistened under their flashlights.
Strangely enough, the thing was reported as emitting some sort of faint dancing glow when the flashlights were turned off, as if it were bioluminescent. Considering its movements and that it even seemed to have a thick, pulsing “lip” attached to it, the officers were under the impression that this was some sort of living thing, although of what it could possibly be they had no idea. As the globular mass oozed along the two puzzled officers called in for backup, which arrived in the form of officers James Cooper and Sergeant Joe Cook, who also witnessed the unearthly sight.
At some point the four of them decided to try and lift the thing, perhaps a rather inadvisable thing to try and do considering they knew nothing of what they were dealing with, but nevertheless they purportedly surrounded the thing and began to heave it up. Much to their surprise, rather than being solid, the thing seemed to dissolve in their hands as they touched it, leaving behind globules of some sort of “odorless scum” on their skin. It is unclear if their touch had had some negative effect on the creature, but it was then that the this entire bizarre purple blob began to evaporate right before their eyes until there was nothing left but a damp patch of ground. Unfortunately they either did not think of or did not have the courage to take a sample of the thing at any point, so we are merely left with this very bizarre tale.
I recently covered one of the weirder and more violent of the blob reports which also happened in the 1950s here in another article, but for those who did not read it it involves some decidedly aggressive gelatinous beings that seem to have been aliens and I will tell the account again here. The late author Brad Steiger covered in his book Strangers from the Skies the case of Hans Gustafsson and 30 year-old Stig Rydberg, who on December 20, 1958 were were on their way along Route 45 from Höganäs to Heisenberg in Sweden in the early morning hours along a foggy road that had such poor visibility that the two friends decided to pull over. As they walked about outside the vehicle they soon noticed through the haze that there was some sort of glow emanating from the surrounding forest nearby.
The two decided to hike off into the darkened, glow frosted trees to try and see where the light was coming from, and after penetrating around 150 feet into the woods they allegedly came across the source of the glow, which proved to be far more bizarre than they had anticipated. There before them was a disc-like object resting on two legs around two feet long, the whole of which cast a scintillating glow of ever-changing colors. Even odder than the sight of this apparent flying saucer was what could be seen cavorting about the vicinity, which were 3-foot long, limbless, faceless amorphous blobs that Rydberg would describe as being like “globs of animated jelly” that levitated over the ground.
Things got rather tense very quickly when these unusual entities suddenly surrounded the two puzzled men and purportedly began to engulf their limbs within their throbbing masses, described as feeling like “magnetic dough,” while at the same time exuding a terrible stench like “ether and burnt sausage.” It seemed as if the blob-like creatures were trying to drag the increasingly terrified witnesses towards the glimmering disc, and no matter how hard the two witnesses fought back and struggled it did little good.
By chance, Rydberg finally managed to tear himself free and run back towards their car with the alien blobs in hot pursuit. When he reached the vehicle he leaned heavily on the car’s horn, piercing the night with a wall of noise in an effort to draw anyone’s attention to their plight, but which also seemed to have the effect of startling the creatures enough to let go of Gustafsson. The blobs then huddled under their craft, filed inside it, and shot off away into the night sky, leaving behind a screeching whistling blare, that nauseating stink, and two very shaken men who found that they were covered in strange bruises and cuts.
Gustafsson and Rydberg perhaps understandably kept the story to themselves for some time, but when it finally came out it became a minor sensation in Sweden. The two witnesses were also interviewed by police, and although the story was without a doubt off-the-wall, they could find no sign of any hoaxing going on, and even when the two were secretly monitored when they thought they were alone, they did not let on that there was any lying or trickery going on. Gustafsson and Rydberg were also found to be in fine physical and psychological health, and in the end, police concluded that the men really seemed to have been traumatized by what they at least truly believed they had seen, whatever that was. It is difficult to ascertain just what it was that these two men saw, or at least thought they saw, and with no other accounts anywhere near it we will probably never know.
In the 1960s we have yet another report of a living blob from the state of New York. In 1962 a rather strange report came in from a 10-year-old boy named Bruce Hallenbeck in Kinderhook, New York, who claimed to have been out with his cousin in some nearby woods when they suddenly were startled by a high-pitched whistling noise reverberating around them. When they looked around to see what had caused the strange noise, Hallenbeck allegedly saw a white, blob-like creature hiding behind a nearby tree. Although it seemed to be looking at them there were no discernible facial features, and the creature was so unsettling that the boys perhaps wisely got out of there as fast as they could. Interestingly, Hallenbeck would in later years become a paranormal researcher and mention the experience in his book Monsters of the Northwoods.
This would apparently not be the last of the mysterious white blob, as another report of possibly the very same thing came in from the area in 1964. The unidentified witness would claim that he had been out hiking in the same area when he noticed a large white blob floating down a hill, seemingly rather alarmingly coming right towards him. He ran away as fast as he could and had a friend return with him to the scene to investigate, this time clutching a shovel and pitchfork as weapons against the possibly aggressive intruder. They soon saw what they had come for, and witnessed the shapeless mass of white floating and darting about through the trees. The sight of this unnatural entity was apparently so unnerving that they decided not to confront it in any way, instead running back to town with an amazing story to tell.
Another peculiar sighting that may or may not be connected to the “Kinderhook Blob” was made a few years later by 14-year-old witnesses Barry Scott and Russell Lee. The two allegedly were out camping in a tent when they heard something outside and looked to see what at first seemed to be an indistinct white globular object floating through the trees. However, unlike in the other cases this time the thing began to congeal into an identifiable shape, although what that was depends on who you ask, as one of the witnesses said it looked like a “bell-shaped” white entity and the other described it as the actual Virgin Mary. Weird either way, and whatever it was soon dissolved away into the forest. What did they see and was it in any way connected to the other two reports? No one knows, and the blob of Kinderhook remains a mystery.
More recently is a report from ThoughtCo. by a witness called “Adam G,” who claims to have had a very weird encounter in the summer of 1995 when he was 9 years old. He had been out on a family trip to the beach in Florida and the day was mostly an uneventful one full of fun in the sun, that is until one of the beachgoers apparently excitedly pointed towards an empty area of the beach and exclaimed “What is that?!” The witness would say of what happened next:
***** “We all got up to get a better look, very quickly forming a crowd around it. If I had to describe the creature we saw in one word, that word would be “cartoonish.” I will never forget what it looked like. It was green and looked like a ball of slime about the size of a basketball. It had tentacles resting on the ground around it with two longer tail-like tentacles sticking out of its back. The thing that was the most bizarre and made it look cartoonish were its eyes, which were on stalks that stood about a foot off its body. The eyes looked creepily human and just looked at us in an almost disinterested way. The other strange thing about it was its mouth, which never seemed to close, and where you’d expect teeth were tooth-shaped fleshy protrusions. No one, not even the creature, seemed scared, and after a while it lazily slithered back into the ocean. There were roughly 10 witnesses to this thing, and we all spent most of our time talking about what it must have been. One idea was that it was a parasite organism for a much larger creature, one also possibly never identified.” *****
What in the world was this thing? What were any of these bizarre entities in the reports that we looked at? Are these something cryptozoological in nature? Are they aliens, ghosts, or some form of inter-dimensional beings? It is absolutely impossible to know, and here we have very strange blob-like entities lurking on the very fringes of the weird, impossible to really classify or categorize and sure to remain enigmas and almost absurd reports that baffle and entertain.
STORY: THE RUM KEG GIRL=====
There’s a cemetery in Beaufort, North Carolina that’s simply called The Old Burying Grounds. It is undeniably an old cemetery, the earliest marked grave is dated to 1711. Its beautiful, peaceful old tombstones are covered with a shady canopy of moss-covered live oak trees. But there’s one grave in the cemetery that has has story to tell that sadder and stranger than most, and it tells it on the simple wooden plaque that marks the grave and reads “Little Girl Buried in a Keg of Rum.”
The story begins in the mid-18th Century, when a family named Sloo (pronounced Slow) traveled from England to the North Carolina colony bringing with them their infant daughter. Sloo was a merchant captain who made his living trading in the English settlements scattered across the Atlantic. The family was prosperous, and they soon built a gorgeous house which still stands on the Beaufort waterfront.
But despite thriving in the colonies, the mother was homesick and often spoke of England. As the Sloo’s daughter grew, hearing her mother’s stories, she too began to long to see the distant land where she was born. Whenever her father was about to set sail, she would beg him to take her with him so she could see England for herself.
The father knew that life at sea was difficult. The voyage to England took months, and a sailing ship was no place for a child. But he also wasn’t blind to his daughter’s happiness. After years of pleading, he finally agreed that she could travel with him. The mother consented to the voyage on one condition, that no matter what happened, he would bring their daughter back to her in Beaufort. And so, one bright morning, leaving his wife behind, Sloo and his daughter set sail for England.
And so the young Sloo girl finally got to see the land where she was born. She delighted in the excitement of London and marveled at being in a land where not everything was new.
But on the return voyage, the father’s forebodings proved to be all too true. Just a week or so out of port, the young girl fell ill and died.
It was the custom in those days for anyone who passed away on a ship to be buried at sea. But Captain Sloo couldn’t bear to allow his daughter’s body to be lost in the depths of the ocean. And he recalled his promise to his wife, no matter what happened, he would bring her daughter home to her in Beaufort.
So the Captain did what he could. There was only one thing on board the ship which could preserve a body, something which every sailing ship carried in copious supply, rum. Captain Sloo gently placed his daughter’s body in one of the many barrels of rum in the hold and sealed the barrel shut.
When he returned home with the heartbreaking news to his wife, she wept for her lost daughter. Not wanting to disturb her further by exposing her to the condition of their daughter’s body after being soaked in rum for months on end, Sloo arranged for his daughter to be buried in the cemetery with a barrel full of rum as her casket.
Today, the grave of the Rum Girl, as she is known, is one of the most-loved tombs in all of North Carolina. Visitors to the tomb will leave toys, flowers, stuffed animals, beads, and other small tokens of affection when they visit the grave of the Rum Girl in Beaufort’s Old Burying Grounds.
But there are some who say that her story doesn’t end there. There are those who say that the figure of a young girl can be seen running and playing between the graves in the Old Burying Grounds at night. They say that the tributes left on the young girl’s grave are often moved about the graveyard at night, often found sitting balanced on top of other gravestones or in places they couldn’t have moved to by just the wind.
Appallingly, in June 0f 2016 the grave of the Rum Keg Girl was severely damaged by a vandal who, for unfathomable reasons, set fire to the wooden marker. I guess we’ll now see if the Rum Keg Girl also has a temper.
When Weird Darkness returns… The Conjuring, The Amityville Horror, Annabelle, and many other books and films have been based on Ed and Lorraine Warren and the stories they tell. But it appears they may not be as advertised. If fact, according to some, they’ve been shown to be fraudulent on more than one occasion. That’s up next.
STORY: WHEN THE WARRENS WERE EXPOSED AS FRAUDS=====
Paranormal research has steadily gained more mainstream acknowledgement since the 1970s, following the release of books and films such as The Exorcist and The Amityville Horror, the latter of which was supposedly based on a true story. And while there is a serious science fueling supernatural exploration, many organizations such as the those featured in the numerous “ghost investigator” reality TV shows – groups that are primarily concerned with entertainment and brand-building, compelling them to fabricate evidence in order to get ratings – give genuine researchers a bad name.
Perhaps the forbears to this conglomeration approach are Ed and Lorraine Warren, self-described demonologists whose names have been attached to some of the most well-known paranormal cases in the latter half of the 20th century. Lorraine claims to be a psychic who can communicate with spirits. Since her husband’s death in 2006, she has worked as a psychic consultant on various TV shows and she has maintained The Occult Museum in Connecticut, featuring artifacts from some of their cases. Many people swear they are “the real deal” – in particular devout Christians; according to Ed Warren, one has to believe in God in order to understand the couple’s research. But other writers and skeptics have discovered outright fabrications in their claims.
Coming up are some of the Warrens’ most famous cases, and the thorough debunking they’ve undergone. Let’s find out the real stories behind The Conjuring, The Amityville Horror, Annabelle, and more.
Before we go any further though, the intention of this list is not to question the existence of supernatural entities, nor to assert that the families investigated by the Warrens are also frauds or in any way co-conspirators of hoaxes. Moreover – because who doesn’t love a good ghost story – it is the Warrens’ intertwining of Catholicism into their own folklore that make them highly questionable figures, because they aren’t only preying upon people’s fears, they’re also preying upon their faith.
Amityville is perhaps the most famous Warren case out there, and thus it the most thoroughly investigated. As Stephen King predicted in his book Danse Macabre, the Amityville narrative has become a kind of campfire ghost tale, effective as a spine-tingler but likely fabricated, or at least mostly so.
The facts are these: In 1974, in the Amityville neighborhood of Long Island, NY, Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered his entire family in the middle of the night, later claiming he heard voices plotting against him, which motivated his actions. Roughly a year later, the Lutz family – George, Kathy, and their three children – purchased the DeFeo home (including some of the DeFeo furniture) and moved in. The Lutzes later claimed they experienced unexplainable phenomena, nightmares, and encountered entities of a demonic nature. The public at large became aware of their story following the 1977 release of the book The Amityville Horror by screenwriter turned novelist Jay Anson, and even more so with the film adaptation, which appeared in theaters two years later.
There are countless articles revealing the Lutzs’ haunting as more fiction than fact, including statements made by Ronald DeFeo’s lawyer, William Weber, who claims he, Kathy, and George Lutz consumed “four bottles of wine” one evening and had “a creative writing session about what kind of thing could go into writing a horror book,” according to ABC News. George and Kathy Lutz always maintained that their experiences were real, and their son Daniel even made a documentary, called My Amityville Horror, in which he effectively expands upon the lore. Perhaps something truly unexplainable did happen to the family in that short month stay in the DeFeo murder house, perhaps not. We’ll likely never know for sure.
But where do the Warrens fit in with all this? They participated in a “psychic slumber party” some two months after the Lutzes abandoned their new home in the middle of the night, followed by a camera crew from a local news affiliate. Lorraine sensed great malevolence in the house, and insisted it was infested with demonic entities. A photograph was allegedly captured of one such entity, though it is likely just one of the crew members in the house that night.
This TV appearance catapulted the Warrens as experts in the field of paranormal research, despite the fact that they presented no concrete evidence of their findings that the Amityville house was haunted or “infested with demons,” and that they furthermore had no real evidence in any prior cases they had worked on. But the fervor for this “true ghost story” had already begun, reaching a fever pitch with the release of The Amityville Horror film in 1979, and cementing the Warrens’ reputation for years to come.
One of the biggest issues with any case associated with the Warrens is that there is scant information concerning the hauntings outside what is provided by the Warrens – meaning that we are supposed to accept whatever facts are presented to us by the couple based on their word alone.
This is especially true with the Annabelle Doll case (adapted into the movie Annabelle in 2014, a prequel to The Conjuring, though the doll had nothing to do with the case upon which The Conjuring was based). According to Joseph Laycock in his article “The Paranormal to Pop Culture Pipeline,” “…a nursing student received a Raggedy Ann doll from her mother in 1970. When the doll exhibited strange behavior, a medium revealed that the doll was possessed by a dead woman named ‘Annabelle Higgins.’ The student and her roommate took compassion for the spirit and granted Annabelle permission to reside in the doll. However, when frightening incidents continued to occur, they contacted the Warrens, who declared that ‘Annabelle Higgins’ was actually a demon.”
The demonologists took the doll back to their museum and put in on display for safety’s sake. Encased in a glass cabinet with a cross over its head, the doll comes with a warning: “POSITIVELY DO NOT OPEN.” Before his death, Ed would apparently warn museum visitors that the last man to mock Annabelle ended up dying in a motorcycle crash, providing no names or evidence to this claim whatsoever. It’s a great little ghost story, but the Annabelle legend originates from the Warrens themselves (or, as Laycock points out, from a 1963 episode of The Twilight Zone, in which a woman named Annabelle gives her daughter a doll that comes to life and terrorizes the family).
The Perron family.
This case was the basis for the hit 2013 film The Conjuring, though the Annabelle doll was related to a separate case. While certain events depicted in the film were exaggerated for the purposes of spectacle, Lorraine Warren and one of the daughters, Andrea Perron, both insist it was mostly accurate to real-life events. Problem is, outside sources insist otherwise, and have a fair amount of evidence to back up their claims.
Primarily, the current owner of the supposedly haunted/possessed house, Norma Sutcliffe, researched the history of her home and discovered many factual errors presented as truth by the Perron family, the Warrens, and subsequently the filmmakers behind The Conjuring (she also sued Warner Bros. due to an influx of trespassers following the film’s release). Sutcliffe and journalist Kent Spottswood produced a video detailing her research, which alleges – among other things – that the “witch” featured in the film, Bathsheba Sherman, was anything but, and that any Satanic worship, infant sacrifices, or general witchery was pure fabrication. Sutcliffe and Spottswood’s evidence is further detailed by Andy Smith in an article for the Providence Journal, and it is corroborated by J’aime Rubio on the investigative blog Dreaming Casually.
Much like the Lutzes, the Perron family (alongside the Warrens, of course) always maintained the veracity of their claims, and perhaps they truly encountered something unexplainable that terrified them. It should be clear, however, that at least some of the backstory surrounding their haunting is made-up.
The Snedeker family haunting. This case inspired the Hollywood film A Haunting in Connecticut, which Lorraine Warren reportedly detested for its “historical inaccuracy,” stating “It’s embarrassing. Do you know the amount of time and effort that we put into that case? Do you know how many meetings with the clergy we had to finally bring closure to the family?” (The Warrens are notoriously staunch Catholics, and most of their investigations centered around families of the same faith – which, for them is apparently the “one true faith,” if we’re to interpret Ed’s somewhat anti-Semitic remarks correctly.)
According to Lorraine, the REAL story of A Haunting in Connecticut involved the Snedeker family, who purchased a home for a knockout price and at a convenient location to the hospital, where their son was receiving treatment for cancer. Of course, it turns out the home’s perfection was too good to be true, as it was formerly a funeral home, where the morticians were rumored to have been caught in acts of necrophilia. This naturally meant the place was haunted, and the family began experiencing the usual strange sounds, demonic entities, possessions, and whatnot.
If this overall scenario sounds familiar, it should: it’s more or less the same narrative shaping The Amityville Horror and The Conjuring – family moves into house, is terrorized by demons. And like those cash cows, the Snedeker Haunting came with its own book, In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting, which is credited as written by Ed and Lorraine Warren, Carmen Reed, Al Snedeker, and Ray Garton. The latter (a horror novelist) was hired by the Warrens to help shape the Snedeker’s narrative. According to Benjamin Radford, writing for Live Science, Garton told Horror Bound magazine he “interviewed all the family members about their experiences, and soon realized that there was a problem: ‘I found that the accounts of the individual Snedekers didn’t quite mesh. They couldn’t keep their stories straight. I went to Ed [Warren] with this problem. “Oh, they’re crazy,” he said…”You’ve got some of the story – just use what works and make the rest up… Just make it up and make it scary.””
Moreover, according to investigator Joe Nickell in the June 2009 issue of Skeptical Inquirer, neighbors of the Snedeker family (as well as Garton again) attributed most of the paranormal happenings to the family’s serious drug and alcohol abuse. All signs seem to point less toward a family legitimately terrorized by an evil spirit, and more toward the Warrens trying to create another Amityville phenomenon.
Then there is “The Devil Made Me Do It” case. According to a contemporary article from People magazine by Lynne Baranski, in 1981, Arne Cheyenne Johnson was arrested and tried for murdering his landlord, Alan Bono. His defense argued that Johnson was not in control of his actions, not by reason of insanity, but by way of demonic possession.
See, Johnson’s fiancée Debbie Glatzel had a little brother, David, 11 years old at the time, who, after being visited by “a man with big black eyes” that bore a striking resemblance to Satan, began showing signs that he was no longer himself – gaining 60 pounds, growling and hissing, involuntary spasming, speaking in strange voices, and “reciting passages from the Bible or from Milton’s Paradise Lost.”
Rather than seeking psychiatric help immediately, the Glatzels first brought in a priest to bless their house; when that didn’t work, guess who they called? Enter the Warrens, who began making regular visits to the Glatzel house, bringing with them more priests and performing “three lesser exorcisms.” Ed Warren commented that he and Lorraine knew “there were 43 demons in the boy.” While the priests involved denied any exorcisms had actually transpired in the Glatzel home, David began to show signs of improvement, especially after the boy was placed into counseling and moved to “a private school for disturbed children.” But Johnson was not so lucky, as apparently a few of the demons exorcised from David’s body entered his, eliciting growls and hisses similar to his soon-to-be brother-in-law’s, as well as slipping into “trances” off and on for a period of months before killing Bono with a five-inch pocket knife, stabbing the man over and over as Debbie Glatzel watched.
The “Devil Made Me Do It” plea didn’t work for Judge Robert Callahan or the jury, and Johnson eventually went to prison for his crime. Years later, in 2007, Carl Glatzel, David’s older brother, attempted to sue Lorraine Warren and Gerald Brittle, author of the requisite “true story” book The Devil in Connecticut for unspecified damages. As part of his suit, Glatzel claims his family was manipulated by the Warrens, that they and Brittle “concocted a phony story about demons in an attempt to get rich and famous at [their] expense”—none more so than little David, whose mental illness he feels was exploited for monetary gain. Of course, it should be noted that the Warrens and the other Glatzels might not be the only the only ones looking for a little moolah off the experience: Carl reportedly wrote his own tell-all book, Alone Through the Valley, with Francis Richards. The book doesn’t seem to be available for purchase, but there’s an excerpt still available on an old Geocities site.
One of the most famous haunting of all time is the Enfield case. These events, beginning in August of 1977 in Enfield, a suburb of London, and petering out sometime in 1979, are the basis for the 2016 film The Conjuring 2, depicting the further adventures of Ed and Lorraine Warren. Much of their work investigating the Hodgson home appeared in The Demonologist: The Extraordinary Career of Ed and Lorraine Warren by Gerald Brittle, the same man who wrote The Devil in Connecticut for the Warrens a few years later. This case centered mostly around Janet Hodgson, at the time 11 years old, who was alternately tormented and possibly even possessed by a poltergeist. The evil spirit was responsible for throwing random items across the room, knocking sounds, strange voices, and growling noises, and even causing young Janet to levitate in midair. The story became a media sensation, and led to numerous investigations of Janet, her 13-year-old sister Peggy (who also seemed to be affected by the poltergeist’s presence), and the entire house.
What most of the investigators took away was that the girls were playing pranks. Joe Nickell wrote a detailed piece for Skeptical Inquirer in July/August 2012, referencing numerous sources that reveal how most of the paranormal happenings in the Hodgson house occurred when no one was actually looking at either Janet or Peggy, such as instances of objects being flung across the room. An audio recording of a dresser falling to the floor seemingly of its own accord reveals what could very likely be footsteps creeping up to the dresser just prior to its collapse. Instances in which the poltergeist seemed to converse with Janet happened mostly when Janet and/or Peggy were behind a closed door, and when the voice would manifest in the presence of others, it was painfully obvious Janet had learned to throw her voice – i.e., she was practicing ventriloquism.
There are a series of photographs that staunch believers of the paranormal insist show Janet levitating. Click here to see a collection of gifs of these photos, but just be aware that if you’re hoping to see an exorcist or Dana-possessed-by-Zuul-style levitation, you’ll be sadly disappointed. The photos depict nothing more than a girl jumping off her bed. And yet, Ed Warren swears up and down in The Demonoligst that he witnessed the girl “sound asleep, levitating in midair.” Did he?
But perhaps most damning of all is the admission by Janet in 2011, then 45 years old, “that she and her sister faked some of the phenomena,” Nickell wrote. “‘I’d say 2 percent,’ she admitted.” Though Nickell insists the evidence suggests one hundred percent fakery, perhaps this is again a case of the truth lying somewhere in between. Perhaps Janet and Peggy did encounter a supernatural being, but began to fabricate much of their interactions with “The Thing” once they realized how much attention it garnered them. Perhaps the affair was, as Nickell states, a total fabrication, through and through. One thing is certain: Ed Warren likely didn’t see Janet levitating.
The Smurl Haunting. The details of this case feel more like something out of a William Peter Blatty novel (or a Jay Anson “True Story” horror tale) than actual events, but like many families on this list, the Smurls of West Pittston, PA swear their story is true, despite numerous investigations and accounts that seem to indicate otherwise. The events in question took place during the 1980s, roughly speaking, and feature all the trademarks of a classic, Amityville-style demonic haunting, in which the supernatural baddie made “loud noises and bad odors” and “pig grunts”; it also “threw [the Smurls’] dog into a wall, shook their mattresses, pushed one of their daughters down a flight of stairs, and physically and sexually assaulted Jack on several occasions,” as stated in a 2012 Times-Leader article by Sheena Delazio. Ed Warren – who came to the Smurls’ aid along with his wife Lorraine in 1986 – even claimed that he saw “a dripping message on a mirror that told him to ‘Get out.'”
Paul Kurtz, a philosophy professor at the State University of New York, Buffalo, drew connections between the Smurls and the Lutzes around the same time the story (with full backing from the Warrens, of course) was exploding in the media. He said of the demonologists, “They have no credentials in the scientific or parapsychological communities,” and further added, “There is no explanation for the Smurl house, but I wouldn’t simply assume it is a haunting… It seems to us that a great-to-do has been made about it, and we wonder if it s like the Amityville horror hoax, which was based on imagination rather than an actual haunting.” Even members of the clergy, brought in for the usual blessings and exorcisms, reported “nothing unusual” happening there. Despite the quick skepticism, the Smurls tale was turned in to a paperback “true story” titled The Haunted, with Ed and Lorraine’s name emblazoned on the cover right next to journalist turned author Robert Curran’s credit. A TV movie of the same name followed in 1991.
The Werewolf demon case. This is perhaps the most ludicrous case in the Warren roster: the couple, alongside Catholic bishops and retired police officers, exorcized the angry spirit of a werewolf from a man’s body. Sounds like a great episode of Supernatural, but it’s apparently one hundred percent true, at least according to the famous demonologists and their book (there’s always a book), Werewolf: A True Story of Demonic Possession. This tome is wonderfully summed-up by Kirkus Reviews, in which the unnamed writer states, “Skeptics, please note the Warrens’ assurance that this is a ‘carefully documented’ case (they forgot to include the documentation, though).”
You can read an overview of this case in a blog post by Ritoban Mukherjee at Unexplained Mysteries, if you so choose. What is most interesting about this post, however, is that it both demonstrates the Warrens’ fraudulent nature and shows how blindly faithful and devoted believers of their work can be. Consider this passage: “The Warrens haven’t been able to produce any photos or material evidence. But the very presence of the famous demonologist couple, paranormal collector John Zaffis, and famous exorcist Bishop [Robert McKenna] greatly increases the credibility.” Moreover, most resources touting the truthfulness of this case are blogs that love to gush on the Warrens. There are no articles devoted to debunking this one because it really debunks itself: man gets violent with some cops, blames a werewolf demon, has an exorcism, man is cured.
The White Lady. The Union Cemetery in Easton, CT, according to Wikipedia, “dates back to the 1700s and is reputed to be one of the most haunted cemeteries not only in Connecticut, but also in the entire United States.” One of the ghosts purported to haunt the grounds is a White Lady, otherwise known as a Lady in White, a tortured spirit generally sprung from grave misfortunes – usually the victim of betrayal by a husband or boyfriend, who died either by suicide or murder. Given that the cemetery is near Ed and Lorraine’s stomping grounds, they’ve been all over this legend, claiming to have actually captured the Union White Lady and a few “shadow ghosts” on video. Watch Ed Warren describe his encounter here, though note that the footage itself is never actually shown.
Here’s another account of Ed’s supposedly taped run-in with this famous ghost, from an interview with Jeff Belanger for GhostVillage.com:
“Ed first recorded the White Lady on September 1st, 1990 at 2:40 a.m. ‘The only light was a street light which was 50 yards from where I was sitting,’ Ed recalled. ‘I heard a woman weeping and I looked out and saw hundreds of ghost lights floating around and forming into a figure of a woman. I couldn’t make out facial features but I could see she had long, dark hair and she was dressed in white.
I started to walk toward her and she disappeared. You never walk towards the ghost, you let the ghost come to you because you can change the molecular and magnetic field when a ghost is materializing.'”
Go ahead and Google Ed’s White Lady video. You won’t find it. There are tons of blogs, articles, and other videos by people claiming that Ed and/or Lorraine showed them the footage, followed by a quote from one of the two basically reiterating the same details printed above. Why?
One person who claims to have seen the video, Steven Novella, explains in his article “Hunting the Ghost Hunters” for SkepticBlog:
“We have only been able to view this tape in the Warren’s [sic] home because Ed refused to give it to us for analysis, a common theme in our investigation. The tape shows an apparent white human figure moving behind some tomb stones. Like videos of UFO’s [sic], Bigfoot, and the Loch Ness monster, however, the figure is at that perfect distance and resolution so that a provocative shape can be seen, but no details which would aid definitive identification. Ed Warren has not investigated the video with any scientific rigor, and refuses to allow others to do so. Despite Ed’s insistence that he was engaged in scientific research, he continued to jealously horde his alleged evidence, rather than allow it to be critically analyzed, as is necessary in genuine scientific endeavors.”
Much like with the Werewolf Demon case, we should accept that the White Lady video indeed exists and is genuine simply because the Warrens tell us so.
Last, there are the numerous “psychic” photographs. Rather than being related to one particular case the Warrens have investigated over the years, this entry relates to the demonologists’ “methods” for photographing spirits. The new, slightly spiffier version of the Warrens’ website does not feature this info, but over at their old archived page, there’s a section titled “Taking Psychic Photographs,” which features such helpful hints as: “Load your camera after you get to the site. Lorraine Warren believes that this gives recognition to the spirits and gives them maximum opportunity to imprint on the film. …use an auto focus or fixed-focus camera with an automatic flash, the more powerful the flash the better. …assuming you are successful in taking psychic photos, you want to be able to rule out clouds, the moon, and so forth as the origin of your ‘psychic’ photos…”
These last two instructions are quite specific. Why? Because these supposed psychic photos usually just look like blobs of light. And that’s because they are. As Steven Novella writes in his article “Hunting the Ghost Hunters” for SkepticBlog: “The vast majority of the Warren’s [sic] physical evidence is photographs. They have hundreds of ghost shots, taken by them and those who work for them… The bulk of these photos are simply blobs of light on a piece of film. There are dozens of ways to get such light artifacts onto film, but most fit into one of three categories: flashback, light defraction, or camera cords. Rare double or multiple exposures create more interesting, but still artifactual, photographs.”
Most telling of all is the first category: flashback. Novella explains, “Flashback is simply light from the camera flash reflected back at the lens, causing a hazy, overexposed region on the film. The result is often a whispy [sic] and blurry light image on the film.”
Instances of so-called “ghost orbs,” furthermore, are typically nothing more than dust motes or other particles exposed by the camera’s light.This explains why the Warrens encourage bright flashes – “the more powerful the flash the better” – on their website.
And yet, the myth of these “psychic photos” persist, with Lorraine Warren still fueling their “validity.” Check out this video: the quality is atrocious, but it does clearly show Lorraine Warren leading a photoshoot at the aforementioned Union Cemetery, where Ed claims to have shot groundbreaking footage of a White Lady materializing from a cluster of “ghost lights.” Note that the narrator of this piece says, “Several local residents have been trained in this special photographic technique developed by the Warrens. Lorraine, a renowned psychic in her own right, pinpoints energy vortices in the cemetery and directs when and where photographs should be taken.” In other words, the BEST way to get a photograph of a ghost, or a ghost’s energy, is to follow Lorraine’s directions EXACTLY. So, if you point your camera in the exact right place at the exact right time, and make sure you’ve got a strong flash, you’ll get incontrovertible proof of ghosts on film!
Or you won’t. Take your pick.
Thanks for listening. If you like the show, please share it with someone you know who loves the paranormal or strange stories, true crime, monsters, or unsolved mysteries like you do! You can email me anytime with your questions or comments at email@example.com. WeirdDarkness.com is also where you can find all of my social media, listen to free audiobooks I’ve narrated, visit the store for Weird Darkness t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, phone cases, and more merchandise, sign up for monthly contests, find other podcasts that I host, and find the Hope in the Darkness page if you or someone you know is struggling with depression or dark thoughts. Also on the website, if you have a true paranormal or creepy tale to tell, you can click on TELL YOUR STORY. You can find all of that and more at WeirdDarkness.com.
All stories in Weird Darkness are purported to be true (unless stated otherwise) and you can find source links or links to the authors in the show notes.
“Miser Henry’s Murder” by Robert Wilhelm for Murder By Gaslight
“Unlucky Possessions” by T.C. Bridges for Haunted Ohio Books
“My Haunted Childhood Home” by Marie Davis, posted at MyHauntedLifeToo.com
“The Blobs” by Brent Swancer for Mysterious Universe
“The Rum Keg Girl” posted at North Carolina Ghosts
“Were The Warrens Exposed as Frauds?” by Christopher Shultz at Ranker.com
WeirdDarkness® – is a production and trademark of Marlar House Productions. Copyright, 2023.
Now that we’re coming out of the dark, I’ll leave you with a little light… “Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.” — Proverbs 20:3
And a final thought… “To claim any list of personal virtues, without practicing love, is deprivation and false piety.”
I’m Darren Marlar. Thanks for joining me in the Weird Darkness.